A judge on Thursday overturned a $128 million punitive damages award to the stars and producers of the long-running Fox TV show “Bones” in a dispute over profits.
Judge Richard Rico’s decision is a victory for the studio, 21st Century Fox, which called it a vindication.
The ruling leaves in place a $50 million award for compensatory damages, interest and attorney fees.
David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel, the stars of “Bones” from 2005 through 2017, sued Fox in 2015, saying it denied them profits by licensing the show to Fox’s TV division and to Hulu for below-market rates. They were joined by executive producer Barry Josephson and author Kathy Reichs, who wrote the novels “Bones” is based on.
Their lawyer said he will appeal Rico’s ruling.
“Today’s decision in no way impacts the arbitrator’s findings that our clients are owed more than $50 million for Fox’s fraudulent and deceitful accounting. It deals only with the technical issue of whether our clients waived their right to receive punitive damages. As the arbitrator concluded, they did not — and we look forward to showing the Court of Appeal why it should reverse today’s ruling,” attorney Daniel A. Saunders said in a statement.
An arbitrator in February ordered 21st Century Fox to pay the punitive damages, saying Fox executives engaged in “intentional fraud and malice.” Fox contested the decision in court.